Definition of in vain in US English:

in vain


  • Without success or a result.

    ‘they waited in vain for a response’
    • ‘She was one of hundreds of customers who were trying in vain to benefit from a giveaway deal.’
    • ‘My hands felt slippery, and I tried in vain to calm my nerves.’
    • ‘The couple suffered severe burns as they battled in vain to rescue their boys from the blaze.’
    • ‘The crowds waited in vain for an encore, not quite believing it was time to go home already.’
    • ‘"He tried in vain to resuscitate them but it was too late, " he said.’
    • ‘Previous efforts by the council to retain industrial use on other key sites in the city have been in vain.’
    • ‘Staff at the prison had tried in vain to resuscitate him in his cell.’
    • ‘Imagine you tell her to come straight home, then you wait in vain for the sound of her key in the door.’
    • ‘My constituents needed to know that the loss of life had not been in vain.’
    • ‘The parish council has tried in vain to persuade another building society to open a branch in Pewsey.’
    futile, useless, pointless, worthless, nugatory, to no purpose
    unsuccessfully, vainly, without success, to no avail, to no purpose, ineffectually, with no result, fruitlessly, profitlessly, unproductively
    futile, useless, pointless, to no purpose, worthless, nugatory
    View synonyms